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Tokyo Marathoners Win Trophy Bananas

Tokyo Marathoners Win Trophy Bananas

Dole produced specially inscribed banana trophies for 200 finishers

Wikimedia/Arpingstone

The first 200 people to finish the Tokyo Marathon will win special Trophy Bananas to keep or eat.

Upon finishing a marathon, a lot of people would rather have a drink and a snack than a trophy. Now some runners will get both, because the 2014 Tokyo Marathon will be awarding special banana trophies to the first 200 people to cross the finish line.

According to Rocket News 24, Dole Japan is a regular sponsor of the Tokyo Marathon and has previously provided piles of bananas for runners to enjoy. Bananas are particularly beloved of some marathon runners because they are full of carbohydrates for energy and potassium and magnesium, which runners lose as they sweat. Bananas are also portable, so they can be eaten mid-race.

This year, the first 200 people to finish the race will get extra special "Trophy Bananas." The banana trophies are just regular bananas, but they will be printed with special messages for the runners. The Trophy Bananas will be printed with the runners' names and finishing times on their skins, as well as a congratulatory message.

The message-bearing Trophy Bananas look pretty cool, and they're a fun novelty with which to celebrate finishing a marathon. Winners will have to decide for themselves whether to eat their bananas right away, or watch a they turn into squishy, brown mementos of victory.


No Olympic spirit for Saudia Arabia's women athletes

The London Olympics, still six months away, continues to smolder potently just out of sight. Saudi Arabia has been accused of spoiling the Olympic spirit by former UK Olympic minster Tessa Jowell this week over its intention not bring a female team to the London Games. The Saudi government, which forbade women from entering gyms two years ago, doesn't have a women's section in its national Olympic committee, albeit this is a historical oversight: the Saudis have yet to send a single woman to any Olympics ever. Also currently missing out is distance great Haile Gabreselassie, who came fourth in the Tokyo marathon, again failing to hit the stellar Olympic qualifying time necessary to swing a place in Kenya's all-star team.

Wales take triple crown

Wales won rugby union's the triple crown and – perhaps more importantly – inflicted a world of hurt on England in their own backyard, with a hard-fought 19-12 victory at Twickenham. There was a controversial ending: Scott Williams snatched a decisive score with five minutes to go, before David Strettle had a marginal try-line scramble ruled out. France bulldozered their way past Scotland: a 23-17 defeat was the Scots' sixth defeat in eight, but also their first 67,000 sell-out at Murrayfield for this fixture in 18 years. Misery magnets.

Liverpool win Carling Cup

Football's seasonal trophy haul is beginning to divvy itself out. Liverpool won the Carling Cup, beating Cardiff on penalties at Wembley, the winning kick missed by Steven Gerrard's cousin Anthony. The top two met in Serie A, Milan and Juventus playing out a bad-tempered 1-1 draw at San Siro to leave Milan still top of Lo Scudetto by a single point. And Cristiano Ronaldo scored a miraculously loopy back-heeled winner against Rayo Vallecano as Real Madrid remained tenpoints clear of Barcelona in La Liga.

Ponting dropped on 345

A busy week in cricket's near-incomprehensible international calendar. England and Pakistan's unusually thrilling Twenty20 series in the UAE went to a final game: signs of the ICC World Twenty20 approaching. Ricky Ponting appeared to be on the verge of retiring, but called a press conference just to confirm he had been dropped from Australia's one day team after 345 matches. And Australia and Sri Lanka look like contesting the final of the CB series after the hosts comfortably swatted India aside in Sydney. Meanwhile Sachin Tendulkar, out for 22, 3 and 14 this week, still hasn't reeled in his 100th international hundred ten months on from the last. But then, you knew that.


Looking Back: 2016 Tokyo Marathon

As the 2017 Tokyo Marathon approaches, Headsweats Ambassador Jill Monroe shares a look at her experience running the iconic race last year. For Jill’s full race report, check out her blog Travel. Run. Repeat.

I can’t believe that the 2016 Tokyo Marathon is now over, and I am sitting on my couch writing my race report. I found out on September 15th that I was selected to participate. I entered the lottery in August, not knowing what would happen. The odds were not in my favor. I remember reading an article months before that said the Tokyo Marathon was one of the hardest marathons to get into. I was shocked when the email came. I screamed when I read it. I prayed that I would get in, and I did! But of course actually pulling the trigger wasn’t an easy decision after that. There were multiple discussions like “Can we afford this?” or “Is this wise to do when we’re trying to save for other stuff, or pay other bills?” and “Do we have the time to take off from work?”

I naturally began to wonder if my goals of traveling all over the world to run marathons were selfish, and not in the best interest of my family. I made a goal after running the Chicago Marathon in 2011 that I wanted to run all of the World Marathon Majors. Getting into Tokyo would get me one step closer to my goal. So it seemed serendipitous that I got in. But still, I didn’t know if it was the “smart” thing to do. After many discussions and my personal consultation with my “crew”, we decided to go. My friend Susan told me that the timing will never be perfect, and to go now if we can. My husband is incredibly supportive. He loves that I have all these goals, and he wants me to achieve them. And he wants to be there with me every step of the way.

“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”

So there you have it! We booked our flights and headed off to Japan. I wrote a separate post on our travels to Japan (click here), along with pictures of where we went and what we did. I also give restaurant suggestions. I think that post will be beneficial for anyone traveling to Japan. It provides some travel tips, but this post is all about the race itself and my experience running the Tokyo Marathon.

PLEASE NOTE: There are MANY useful scanned documents located in the TOKYO MARATHON icon on my main home page. After you finish reading this report, please refer to those documents for more helpful information. These are the race documents for the 2016 race. The 2017 race documents will be different, as the course has slightly changed. But you will find important rules, and aid station information there.

The Tokyo Marathon Expo and Packet-Pickup took place at the Tokyo Big Sight (where the race finished. ***NOTE: FOR THE 2017 RACE THE FINISH WILL BE IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION). Before we went inside, the Tokyo Food Festival was taking place outside. This was the best thing that could have happened to us that day. We went Friday afternoon to avoid the crowds, but we forgot to eat breakfast so we were cranky. Seeing the little vendors and smelling the perfectly balanced merge of Japanese cuisine was divine it was a mini paradise. After we ate, we entered the expo in a better mood. We were now ready to enter a marathoners version of heaven. Runners were only allowed in the packet pickup area. I was asked to show my ID a couple times. Everything was very organized and secure. There were several volunteers who spoke English, so I never felt confused. There was also an “overseas runner” booth. It was a seamless process. After I got my packet I met my husband and we worked our way through the maze. I took pictures and grabbed a bunch of free products. I sampled stuff and played a couple games for coveted prizes that I didn’t win. The Tokyo Marathon official merchandise store was small, and a little crowded. I was surprised at how small it actually was. But little did I know there was more stuff on a different level. I bought Tokyo Marathon brand chopsticks and arm warmers. Other levels at the expo had more merchandise from Asics to New Balance and other top brands. My clear plastic bag for bag check was filled with my purchases and free items. It was a great expo to say the least. Tip: If you are running the Tokyo Marathon, go on Thursday or Friday and avoid Saturday if you can.

Starting Line

There were some words that were spoken in Japanese over the loudspeaker (I have no clue what they announced) followed by the introduction of the Elite runners and wheelchair participants. A song was sung in Japanese, possibly the national anthem? Then the starting gun went off. I believe it was 10-15 min before we were able to actually start.

Some key things along the course:

The portable toilets are very frequent, and there is a volunteer holding a sign that announces the bathroom coming up and how far away the next one is. So the sign will say: “Exit here for the bathroom now, or next one is 1.2 miles away”, for example. Cool right? Every toilet area has a couple volunteers who will guide and place you in line. They manage the line and flow. Again, you will have to squat when using most toilets. There were “western style” toilets, but not as frequent. No hand sanitizer or soap/water to wash your hands is available. Near major sights like the Imperial Palace there were “real” bathrooms. So you can always divert from the course and use them if that makes a difference. The one thing that stood out to me was that every toilet line was always long. Some races you will find shorter lines eventually, but not at this race. We stopped twice to use the bathroom, and the lines both times were long. Expect a bathroom stop to add 10-15 minutes on to your time. I do commend this race on having volunteers stationed at each toilet area.

Course Fuel and Food

Pocari Sweat and water are the beverages offered along the course. Pocari Sweat I learned has MSG in it (I had no clue. I should have done my research ahead of time!) Read about it. Know what is offered before running just in case you need something else. Unfortunately you cannot carry your own water bottles in. I believe you can take in unopened commercial products, like bottled water that has a seal on it. Please check the official rules. I scanned the ‘course restrictions’ document and it is located in the Tokyo Marathon icon on my home page. We did see runners with Camelbak hydration packs on. I am guessing they put their empty hydration packs in their checked bags, went through security (metal detectors), and then filled them up later? I mentioned a product in an earlier post, the Salomon S-lab Sense Hydro Set (a handheld collapsible hydration flask). You can add your electrolyte tablet or powder to water and mix in this flask after the race starts. There also were bananas and tomatoes along the course. The bananas were full sized which was nice. You peel them yourself. Volunteers did wear gloves when handling food, for those health conscious individuals. I carried my own gels and chews in my SPI belt, so the only thing I needed was water and Pocari sweat.

There are volunteers everywhere! They have volunteers organizing the bathroom stops, and ones holding garbage bags along the course. The water stops have plenty of volunteers handing out water and cheering you on. They were simply amazing. They always had a smile on their face, and they were extremely polite. The volunteers make this race wonderful. Even at the family meet up/baggage pick-up area the volunteers would congratulate runners. I saw someone post a video of them clapping in sync as runners picked up their bags. I can’t thank the volunteers enough for all their help in making this an amazing and successful race. Volunteers wear different color jackets which mean certain things. I can’t remember what each color represents, but I do know the green jackets meant the volunteer could speak English. At the Expo you will see a display of what each color jacket means.


The Simple Staple

A few key items can form the backbone of a good running diet.

It's hard to say such is the case in the typical American diet. At best, our diet is a stew of many cultural influences, with a plethora of confusing choices. Breakfast can range from eggs and bacon to processed cereal to a bagel or muffin as for lunches, that's usually whatever low-carb option is within arm's reach. The closest we come to a staple is pasta, pizza and garlic bread, or perhaps lattes. This doesn't sound like the staple bond that can take training to the next level.

On top of this, many Americans skip meals, dine out more often than eat at home and generally follow lax eating patterns. When it comes to mealtime, let's face it--Americans fly by the seat of their pants. Could this be one contributing factor as to why Americans lag behind champion nations like Ethiopia, Kenya and Japan?

A study of the diets of 10 elite Ethiopian runners conducted last year reflected a carbohydrate-rich, nutrient-dense eating pattern with an average 64 percent of their calories in the form of carbohydrates. Their diet largely consisted of rice, pasta, lentils, porridge and vegetables.

When the diet of elite Kenyan runners was examined back in 2004, a similar systematic diet was discovered. Twenty-three percent of their calories came from maize (cornmeal), with another 20 percent in the form of raw sugar used to spike their tea and porridge. On average the Kenyan runners consumed about 76 percent of their daily calories in the form of carbohydrates. This is comparable to "carbohydrate loading" every single day of training.

This carbohydrate percentage seems high given the carbohydrate-elimination diet frequently advocated in the U.S. Revisiting the fact that carbohydrates are essential for stocking glycogen stores, fueling performance and defending against injury, it's easy to appreciate that champion-nation eating consists of such a carbohydrate-concentrated diet.

A major source of their carbohydrate-rich eating is staple foods. Consider injera, the bread eaten with most meals in Ethiopia. This bread made from teff flour is fermented over three to four days before the batter is poured over a hot skillet and cooked similar to a crepe. The teff grain is so small that it can't be separated into germ, bran and endosperm like other flours. This gluten-free flour packs more amino acids, fiber, calcium and iron than even whole wheat flour.

Anti-nutrient components, such as phytates, and any harmful toxins are neutralized during the process of fermentation of the injera dough. This makes the grain safe to eat and easy to digest, and allows for improved absorption of the nutrients it carries. Injera in and of itself could be argued as a single source of nutrition that many Americans strive for in daily food combinations.

The Kenyan staple ugali is made from a base of maize, millet or sorghum. Ugali is a paste formed into a ball and indented with a thumb print as an edible spoon. The average 350-gram serving of ugali contains roughly 90 grams of carbohydrate. This makes for carbohydrate-packed staple eating.

It's safe to say that injera is no standard slice of white bread and ugali isn't just a piece of buttered cornbread. Similarly, the soba noodle of Japan is made from buckwheat, and Latin America relies on staples like corn-based arepas and tamales. All of these nations also eat a good deal of rice, often considered a "forbidden food" in the United States, but a solid source of low-fat carbohydrate.
DEFINE YOUR SIMPLE STAPLE

Champion-nation cuisine suggests aiming for carbohydrate-rich, easy-to-access grains and root vegetables as often as possible. Teff flour, millet and soba noodles can be found at some grocery stores and most specialty grocery stores and incorporated into the American lifestyle. Cornmeal is widely available, although not always the very fine, flour-like maize used for ugali. There are, however, resources in almost every grocery store that Americans can easily make staples in the diet.

Oats can be served for morning porridge, rolled with honey and peanut butter for a midday snack, served beneath a heap of beans and corn, or ground into flour (in a food processor) for baking, and eaten raw with milk for a late-night snack. Nutritionally, oats offer a staple component to the diet because they serve as a source of substantial carbohydrates complemented with protein, iron and calcium.

White rice is packed with carbohydrates, yet does not carry quite the nutritional value of brown. Brown rice, in addition to the carbohydrates, offers more fiber, protein, iron and calcium per serving. Rice is a great option to turn to in terms of pairing. Any balance missing from a single bowl of rice can be reinforced with lentils, a small serving of meat and vegetables.

The empty carbohydrate stereotype of potatoes could use an overhaul. Potatoes are a year-round vegetable serving as a functional staple in providing a good source of low-fat and easy-to-digest carbohydrates, potassium, B-6, Vitamin C, fiber and phytonutrients. Roast or mash potatoes as a side, serve up a sweet potato pancake breakfast, bake and top a potato with black beans, cheese and salsa for a tasty lunch, or toss diced potatoes into a flavorful soup or stew. Even consider testing salted, cooked potatoes during training, a common ultramarathon aid station fuel to support sustained energy for long events.

Quinoa is the rediscovered ancient "grain" of South America that's increasingly popular in the U.S. It can be found in most grocery stores to purchase as a flour, flake or seed. Quinoa can be compared to millet and teff due to its gluten-free, amino-acid-rich composition. Although quinoa is often considered a "grain," it's a seed. Quinoa serves as an amino acid and iron-rich source of carbohydrates.

Quinoa, like rice, is quick to cook in 20&ndash30 minutes, but makes a fantastic option for runners to make in large quantities to store in the refrigerator for frequent use. It can be reheated in the microwave or served cold and tossed with fresh vegetables for a midday snack or quick meal.

BEYOND THE STAPLE

Staple eating in champion nations is complemented with a great deal of leafy, root and other vegetables such as corn and okra. Legumes such as soy beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, mung beans, red beans, black beans and peanuts are used to top rice or scooped up with ugali.

Champions around the world eat fruit, not sweets. Act like a Kenyan and boost your diet with bananas and mango in lieu of desert, as a way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Africans, Latin Americans and Japanese eat meat and fish, but as a small flavor treat added to their staple.

STAPLE FOOD COMPARISON OF FLOURS

Grain--Per Cup Calories Fat (g) Carb (g) Fiber (g) Protein (g) Iron (%) Calcium (%)
Potato 571 1 133 9 11 12 10
Rice (White) 578 2 127 4 9 3 2
Rice (Brown) 574 4 121 7 11 17 2
Millet 520 6 104 12 16 60 0
Spelt 520 4 100 16 16 24 0
Kamut 520 4 100 16 20 16 0
All-Purpose 440 0 95 4 12 8 0
Cornmeal (maize) 442 4 94 9 10 23 1
Bran 440 8 92 12 12 16 0
Teff 452 4 88 16 16 52 20
Buckwheat 402 4 85 12 15 27 5
Amaranth 480 10 80 8 16 60 16
Quinoa 440 6 72 8 16 28 4
Oat 360 6 63 9 12 24 6
Garbanzo (chickpea) 356 6 53 10 21 25 4
Soy (defatted) 346 1 40 18 49 54 25
CARBOHYDRATE COMPARISON
Diet Carb (%)
Kenyan 76
Ethiopian 64
American Athletic 50-65
Paleo Athletic 50

While the beauty of staples is that you don't have to think about how to cook, you can also prepare them in myriad ways for those who crave variety. Go to Staple Recipes for sample recipes using commonly available staple ingredients and a video of Kenyans demonstrating how to make ugali.


Košice Peace Marathon

Earlier this October I was able to travel with my husband to the Košice Peace Marathon, the oldest marathon in Europe. Inspired by the marathon at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, a Košice native returned home to organize a marathon run by 8 men. Today, over 10,000 people take part in the event with runs of various lengths, as well as inline skating and wheelchair/handbike disciplines.

We arrived on late Saturday afternoon, the city center abuzz. Tents set up displayed and/or sold various wares, the streets were lined with barrier fences, and the streets were busy with athletes, their supporters, and spectators. Small packs of Roma children ran through the crowd. By evening, more people were walking the main roads and the youth of Košice weren’t about to miss out, making me feel like an old stogy parent (some of them just looked so young to be roaming the night streets).

After getting settled in and a quick run for my husband, we headed to the unmissable attraction in the centre: Dóm svätej Alžbety. The St. Elizabeth Cathedral is the largest place of worship in Slovakia and the eastrenmost Gothic cathedral in Europe. The setting sun set the upper reaches aglow, an immovable solidity towering over the rushing ants below. Inside, the bare walls and column rise in typical Gothic fashion, which I much prefer over the ostentatious Baroque. After Mass, I only managed to snap a few photos with my phone, but of note is the youngest alter made of bullets and helmets to commemorate victims of WWI.

I got up early in the morning to prowl around the city in the morning light. Just down the street from our pension I was surprised to hear loud voices and a fist thumping a table. “Open to around 6 am” proclaimed a chalkboard sign outside a small bar. It was 6:15. On the same square, another bar was still open, orange lights glowing in the still dark morning. The occupants of this bar, “Hospitality at Lenka’s”, were more refined, one shaking the hands of others as he left.

In the centre, preparations for the marathon were already underway. First aid tents popped up, cameramen prepped their equipment, somebody ziptied together barrier fences. The fences weren’t here a few years ago, my husband told me, until the bomb at the Boston marathon. Despite the marathon activity, early churchgoers still poured out of the cathedral after Mass.

All too soon it was time to head back to eat. As I made my way back, the first sellers were setting up in the market square (the same as the bars). One lady laid out fresh mushrooms, a man tied together rose hips for decorations. The church spires, of which Košice has many, were glowing as I ran back. The ‘panalaky’, communist-era apartment buildings, were glowing too.

Before the race we had to put my husbands’ gear in the city swimming centre, set up for runners to put their stuff in lockers and have showers. The streets were swarming with people – runners jogging to warm up, spectators heading to find a good watching spot. One runner spotted my camera and asked me to take a picture to send by email.

Laughter is, of course, the best way to get ready for anything.

The race started, first the disciplines with wheels, then the runners, with lively Vivaldi blaring from the speakers (which had ended by the time I got this video).

After the first wave of people, I had a map and was going to go to another spot to see if I could see my husband pass by. But I got totally confused at which way the marathon was running and which side I should go to. So I took a little wander.

In front of the museum was a stage for performers. It was an poorly planned spot, as there was no room in front of the stage for anybody to watch. Of what I saw, first a folk group performed, spurs jingling, and then a drum group.

A young lady pairs her old fashioned dress and violin with a Metallica jacket.

My husband was running the half-marathon, so I headed down the main thoroughfare hoping to see him as he passed and then meet him at the end.

My husband says the best part of the marathon is that the last kilometer or so is lined with people watching, clapping, and encouraging runners to pull through the last bit. Somehow, even though I stayed put, I missed him yet again, and so I belatedly made my way to the end of the race to find him.

Evidence of a marathon – lots of bananas, plastic coverings, and some water and beer.

Not all of the race takes place in among beautiful historic buildings. We headed back to the swimming centre, in front of which marathoners were still running. I’m sure the designer of the communist-era building wouldn’t consider it ironic that their work is plastered in advertisements.

And with that ended our time in Košice. I didn’t have time to explore much of the city, but I’m looking forward to going back to learn more about a place that was at the crossroads of so many cultures.


And the Spikes Asia PR Grand Prix goes to.

Dentsu Y&R shows off its banana trophy after lifting the Spikes Asia PR Grand Prix

At a glittering awards night on Friday (26 Sep) at the iconic Marina Bay Sands entertainment complex in Singapore Dentsu Y&R Tokyo was awarded the mother of all PR awards at Spikes Asia &ndash the Grand Prix. Its entry Banana Trophy for the best use of social in a PR campaign won the unanimous approval of the jury.

"Very hard to make a 'standard' sponsorship property work for a brand and this did that with humour, wit and marination and put the product right back in the centre frame," explained jury president and Asia Pacific CEO of Edelman David Brain.

"Dole banana trophy, ticked off several boxes- scoring on output awareness on traditional and new media fronts business results, and penetration of key message on its energy health benefits," jury member and Singapore chairman of Weber Shandwick Christina Cheang told PRWeek.

"Uniquely, it delivered mainstream product branding as well as personalised branding for participants in the marathon- and not forgetting the significant business impact."

Another jury member Ong Hock Chuan who is a partner at the Indonesia-based PR firm Maverick said: "It (the banana trophy campaign) was creative, it very effectively used owned media to generate earned media and there was follow through."

The winning team, off course, was not shy of showing off their ware. At the awards nite a team of Dentsu Y&R Tokyo strutted up the stage proudly holding the winning "trophy" over their head.

"When I heard the news of winning Grand Prix, I was surprised and cried tears of joy," said Dentsu Y&R Tokyo team leader and planner Yuki Fuse. He thanked his team and wife for all the support she gave him during the difficult and often challenging run up to the project. Fuse told PRWeek his team members had to "overcome many difficulties" in driving this project forward.

The multinational fruit plantation owner and distributor Dole was a sponsor of this year's Tokyo Marathon - Japan&rsquos largest long distance running event in which over 36,000 runners participated. Dole&rsquos banana, which is mostly grown in the Philippines, is extra sweet and is considered a source of nutritious energy for atheletes. The firm wanted to brand its banana as the "ultimate" of all bananas. Enter Dentsu Y&R. It created an "ultimate banana" that proved to be a runaway PR success. It was called the Banana trophy.

Tokyo marathon participants were first invited to a Banana Trophy "lottery" on Facebook. If they won, all they had to do was run the race, without any smartphone or apps to download. When the runner crossed the finish line, an official Tokyo Marathon RFID device planted on their shoe activated a specially designed web-based signal, which posted "JUST FINISHED TOKYO MARATHON 2014!" message onto the runners&rsquo facebook page. This prompted the runners&rsquo friends to post congratulatory messages on the facebook. All that social media feedback was collected through the web, and automatically transformed into a "Banana Trophy" in real-time at the finish line.

The goal was to create PR valuable news using the Dole banana and the whole experience to getting it.

Creating an experience around something that common as a banana was a challenge to start with. The Dentsu Y&R team did that The "trophy" had the marathoners&rsquo name, finish time and cheers from facebook printed directly onto the Dole banana, by linking the web to a specially constructed printer. That was news by itself. To do it in real-time on the spot was even bigger news, especially for a marathoner who had just finished a grueling 42.195km run.

Buzz like "The banana too precious to eat!" swept the web and was shared 720,000 times. The "Banana Trophy" was broadcasted even on the national news. Media cost was zero, but the total coverage was estimated to be over US$1.1m. The news reached more than 28m. Market survey showed that 95.3 percent of Japanese changed their impression of Dole to "extremely good" and 83.5 percent said they "strongly" considered buying Dole&rsquos banana.

Bananas flew off the shelf soon after the February marathon. Sales went up 115% the next month onwards, and Dole became the most unforgettable banana not only to the runners, but to the whole nation. None of the runners could actually bring themselves to eating their banana "trophy" because it was considered simply "too precious" and "memorable". Indeed, as Cheang put it: "Who would have thought the humble banana was not just for the eating?"


THE RELUCTANT STAR : The Heisman Trophy Is Missing, and the 1988 Winner--Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders--Really Doesn’t Care

William Sanders, 51, puffs on a cigar, checks his Sun Bowl watch and shakes his head. As if on cue, the three men sitting with him at a wobbly table in the back of Georgio’s Cafe shake their heads.

“That thing should have been here by now,” Sanders says. “They told me they were sending the trophy home from New York same time they sent me home from New York. Except I’m here, and it ain’t.”

Sanders recently visited New York City and slept in the Downtown Athletic Club, a place so wondrous, he says, “it has a swimming pool on each of the first eight floors.”

That was a couple of weeks ago. He was there for the presentation of the Heisman Trophy to his son Barry, an Oklahoma State running back. One copy of the trophy went to the college, the other to Barry, who promptly gave it to his father, mostly because the sight of it made him feel funny.

His father then promised to display it in Georgio’s soul food place, mostly because Georgio makes him good coffee every morning.

Georgio has already cleared a table. Amid the smoke and big cheeseburgers and chitlin specials, it’s the only table not draped with a plastic Christmas tree-covered tablecloth. It’s empty, it’s ready. Bring on that bronze boy. Georgio’s, home of the Heisman.

“Maybe it got lost in the mail,” says Mr. Armstrong, a friend of Sanders who, like all his friends, is introduced only as Mister.

“They wouldn’t actually mail it, would they?” asks Mr. Sanders.

“This is just barber shop talk,” later says Mr. Kinnard, the barber, “but folks are saying that the powerful people in this town called the people in New York and told them not to send you nothing.”

A younger gentleman pops his head in the door. He is not introduced.

“I know where the Heisman is,” he announces. “Somebody said it was in the trunk of a car parked out on Kellogg Street.”

“They said it was where?” Mr. Sanders asks.

Two hours south, in Stillwater, Okla., Barry Sanders puts his head in his hands. He is not laughing. He doesn’t know where the Heisman is. He doesn’t care where the Heisman is. He only wishes people to understand one thing.

“Every day I pray--man, do I pray,” he says. “I can’t handle what has happened to me, so I pray that God will handle it for me.”

Driving through the Oklahoma plains up Interstate 35 from Oklahoma City, you see just one sign telling you that you are within 1,000 miles of Stillwater. And that sign is just 2 miles before the exit.

Out Oklahoma way, they figure you know where you are going.

Out Oklahoma way, where the wind can make you cry and there are fewer trees than there are radio stations that broadcast Paul Harvey, strength is measured in terms of conviction.

“We’re mostly down-to-earth people,” Pat Jones, the Oklahoma State football coach, said. “We accept a man for who he is, not for a lot of glitz.”

Into this area, on Dec. 3, barged King Glitz, the Heisman Trophy, the 25-pound symbol of the best college football player in the nation. It then kicked in the door of the one top college football player who wasn’t listening for the knock.

Barry Sanders, a 20-year-old college junior, has all but denounced it. Before he won it, he half-jokingly rooted for another player to win it. He then nearly had to be dragged in front of a camera to accept the award via satellite television. And afterward, he gave his copy to his father, who still hasn’t seen it.

With apologies to one of Georgio’s best dishes, the Heisman is being treated with all the reverence of a ham hock.

“You wonder, biggest award possible, why doesn’t this guy go bananas?” said Oklahoma State offensive guard Chris Stanley of Sanders. “You wonder, why doesn’t he come out and say everything he’s wanted to say all his life?

“When he didn’t want to be on television to accept the Heisman, I volunteered to go in his place. Shoot, I’ll take that thing.”

Sanders, himself, shrugged as if in pain. He is not aloof or forbidding. He won’t sit still for an interview very long--he was once 4 1/2 hours late for one--but he talks pleasantly and without pause. It’s just that he just doesn’t say the things people are listening for.

“Life doesn’t stop with football,” he said. “Happiness does not come from football awards. It’s terrible to correlate happiness with football. Happiness comes from a good job, being able to feed your wife and kids. I don’t dream football, I dream the American dream--two cars in a garage, be a happy father . . . “

He sighed. “It’s not that I don’t want the award. It’s just that the award doesn’t mean everything.”

Oklahoma State quarterback Mike Gundy has heard this question so often that he’s worried he might call it in the huddle one day.

“If it’s an act, how come I was reluctant to even congratulate him about the award?” Gundy asked. “I don’t care how good an actor you are, you can’t act how you feel about the Heisman Trophy. He may be different, but that’s the way he is.”

Those who take college football real seriously find this almost sacrilegious, particularly after what Sanders did to win the award.

When the season began, Sanders had a 2-year rushing total of 947 yards, mostly as a backup. In the Oklahoma State football media guide, Sanders’ picture appears only once, on Page 22, with a normal biography that describes him as nothing more than an heir apparent to the starting backfield job. In the entire 102-page book, the word Heisman appears not at all.

When Sanders leads Oklahoma State against Wyoming in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 30, he will complete 4 stunning months during which he ran around opponents with such incredible freedom, it was as if they never realized he had the ball. He has broken or tied 24 National Collegiate Athletic Assn. rushing records.

The big record is the yards rushing--2,628, a nice average of 238.9 yards a game. Then there were his touchdowns--39, or about 3 a game.

Using a 5-foot 8-inch frame supported by thighs the approximate size of grain elevators, Sanders bounced off enough bodies to win the Heisman before a 332-yard performance against Texas Tech at Tokyo to end the regular season.

But his landslide win--with more than double the points of runner-up Rodney Peete of USC--is where the problems started.

A football player was suddenly asked to be a football star. And Barry Sanders was not brought up to be a football star. From his lack of an end zone dance to his lack of an audacious boast, one can see the teachings of a background based in realism.

These were the teachings of a father who, as an independent construction worker with a high school education working sometimes for less than $10 an hour, insisted that his son be different.

“I got no physical injuries from my job, but plenty of mental ones, and those are worse,” William Sanders said.

The father insisted that the son never show anyone up the way he had sometimes felt shown up. The father, who all his life had listened to others brag, insisted that his son never brag.

“I told Barry one thing every Friday night before he went to the game,” William Sanders said. “I told him he wasn’t better than anybody else. He was just luckier.”

There were the teachings that football is something to be played, not something with which to feed your family. A college degree and the Bible, that’s how you feed your family. The Bible part was governed by Sanders’ mother, Shirley, from whom he takes his quiet consistency.

The problem with being raised on such realism is that, coming from a Heisman Trophy winner, it does not seem very realistic to some.

“I just saw him walking across the street to the weight room,” said Hart Lee Dykes, standout Oklahoma State receiver. “He’s just walking, head down, real quietly, like nothing in the world is happening. I stop and look at him and shake my head.

“I think, this man just won the greatest award you can win, and he does not have a clue.”

Start with the name. It’s just Barry Sanders. No middle name, because his father worried that he would have enough trouble spelling two names.

It was the first of many choices his father would make for Barry and his 10 brothers and sisters as they grew up on the raggedy end of Wichita in a 3-bedroom, green frame house just around the corner from Georgio’s. The family still lives there.

“Barry comes home, he shares a room with his sister, sleeps in a bunk bed,” William Sanders said. “What, you think because he won the Heisman we can build him a special room? You think I should let him sleep in my bed? In my house, there is still only one way. My way.”

That way has proven effective, at least with the boys in the family. Of Barry’s two older brothers, William is a minister in Kansas City and Byron is a successful running back at Northwestern.

“His father was intimidating,” said Mark McCormick, Sanders’ best friend and a student at the University of Kansas. “We walked around him on tiptoes.”

Said Sanders: “I did something wrong, he let me know.”

About the only thing anyone can recall Sanders doing wrong, however, was play with matches as a first grader.

“Wouldn’t have been so bad except he played with them in the bathroom,” Williams Sanders said. “I see smoke, I run in and grab him.”

And then the obvious spanking ensued . . .

“Spanking, hell. I tried to kill him,” interrupted Sanders. “I take no prisoners. But they listen. And Barry was no trouble after that.”

He was too busy following orders. He missed the first practice of his senior year in high school because he was helping his father shingle a roof. Even today, he cannot come home without helping his father on a job.

“Ninety-nine percent of the things he made us do, we hated,” Barry said. “But we did them, because that’s the way it is.”

As Sanders grew up through both great and mediocre football seasons--he wasn’t even a starting running back until the third game of his senior year because coaches thought he was afraid to run up the middle--his father’s themes remained strong.

“I didn’t ever want to rock the boat,” Barry said. “I still don’t. God gave us a gift, and I just wanted to use that gift . . . and not get in anybody’s way.

“I’m not better than anyone else. I’m not supposed to be on a pedestal. I’ve always stayed away from that.”

Thus it happened that he was recruited by only three schools. His father allowed him to pick which one he wanted to attend.

“All I told him when he left home was, ‘Don’t dare come back to our ghetto in 4 years, high-fiving and hollering about what you done on some football field,” William said. “I told him, come back with a job and an education. If you are going to come back and be like me, don’t even go.”

Iowa State and Tulsa recruited him hard, but Sanders liked the low-key approach of Oklahoma State, whose coach, Jones, never even visited his house.

“He wanted to go somewhere where he wouldn’t be the star, where he wouldn’t have to be a savior,” his father said.

Said his best friend, McCormick: “He told me he wanted to go somewhere where he could meet a real country girl who had never heard of Barry Sanders, who didn’t care about the jukes and the touchdowns, who would care just about Barry.”

After 2 years of blessed obscurity, both hopes have vanished. Today it is hard to find anyone in these parts, or any college football fan anywhere, who has not heard of Barry Sanders. And oh, about those jukes and those touchdowns.

“About 3 weeks before the Heisman ceremony, when it finally hit him what was happening, you could see him kind of squirm,” said Ron Brown, Oklahoma State’s director of athletic counseling. “All he wanted to do was go to school and play football, and suddenly everyone is telling him he’s the greatest thing since sliced cheese. People from everywhere were on him, people were just killing him.

“But tell you what, he has not changed. Not one iota.”

Said Sanders: “People always try to get you to change--like in junior high it was popping pills and booze and marijuana, and everybody calling you square if you didn’t do it. Well, I consider what’s happening now another type of peer pressure. And I don’t care what anybody says about me in all this. They don’t know me.”

Because to know him is to know that, even after appearing on TV with Bob Hope, he is still not a football star.

He still does not look like a star. He showed up at a recent interview wearing jeans and a University of Houston sweat shirt.

“Got it in a good trade with a guy there,” he said.

He does not have a style like a star. He still doesn’t wear any jewelry, except for a watch. And the one time he tried to get fancy, he nearly caused himself a serious injury.

“He would go around wearing this pin in his mouth, like a toothpick,” recalled McCormick. “Then one day, while drinking a Coke, he swallowed the pin. Coaches held him out of the next game because they were afraid the pin would cut his insides.”

He doesn’t strut like a star. He still doesn’t have a trademark end zone spike, or dance, or shuffle, or even wave. He scores, he finds the nearest referee--once he ran 15 yards to find him--and then politely returns the ball.

“Of all the things he’s done, we would really stand in awe if, just once, after a touchdown he would dance the Cabbage Patch,” lineman Stanley said, sighing. “It’ll never happen.”

He doesn’t party like a star. Friends swear he has been to one dance in his life--to pick up the homecoming king’s crown in high school--and even then they say he didn’t have a date.

Said Stan Clark, owner of Stillwater’s popular Eskimo Joe’s bar: “I’ve seen all the football stars come in here. But I’ve never seen Barry Sanders in person. Ever.”

So what happens next year when, in trying to become only the second person in the Heisman’s 54-year history to win the award twice, he must face an entire season of glitz? Considering that he could avoid the publicity and pick up some NFL dollars, will Sanders even stick around for next year?

He says he’s staying put. Even though Oklahoma State is in imminent danger of probation when the NCAA completes an investigation and hands down a ruling on a reported 63 rules violations, that is not at the top of his concerns.

“I am staying here,” Sanders said. “I came to finish my education, and that’s what I’ll do.”

Noted McCormick: “We were talking about the NFL the other day and he told me he didn’t think he was good enough. That’s what he said.”

His modesty will actually suit him better in college next season, for he may have more reason to be modest. Whereas Miami quarterback Steve Walsh is already positioning himself as a Heisman front-runner, Sanders is losing each of his key blockers to graduation--all five offensive linemen and the blocking back.

But heck, that’s next year. As Sanders walked to his dormitory one recent afternoon, he wasn’t thinking about next year. His nose was stuck so far into a book that he was nearly hit by a skidding car in a crosswalk.

And when he was asked about his Mercedes--these days it seems as if all Heisman trophy candidates drive nice cars--he laughed.

“I’ve got my Mercedes for you, man,” he said. “It’s a 1980 Phoenix, a Pontiac. Drives just fine.”

He turned the corner and stuck his nose back in his book.

Bill Plaschke has been an L.A. Times columnist since 1996. He has been named national sports columnist of the year eight times by the Associated Press, and twice by the Society of Professional Journalists and National Headliner Awards. He is the author of five books, including a collection of his columns entitled, “Plaschke: Good Sports, Spoil Sports, Foul Ball and Oddballs.” Plaschke is also a panelist on the popular ESPN daily talk show, “Around the Horn.” For his community service, he has been named Man of the Year by the Los Angeles Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and has received a Pursuit of Justice Award from the California Women’s Law Center. Plaschke has appeared in a movie (“Ali”), a dramatic HBO series (“Luck”) and, in a crowning cultural moment he still does not quite understand, his name can be found in a rap song “Females Welcome” by Asher Roth. In case you were wondering – and he was – “Plaschke” is rhymed with “Great Gatsby.”

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19. Creamy Mozzarella Shrimp Pasta

This dish comes together pretty fast, so I would recommend having everything ready to go before you start.

Begin with the pasta and get it cooking while you make the other components. For the shrimp, remember that they only need a couple of minutes in the pan.

As soon as they turn pink, get them off the heat, so they don&rsquot go rubbery.

Once your sauce is mixed and hot, you can toss in the pasta and shrimp and serve right away.


You Won’t Believe the Strange Foods Boston Marathoners Ate After Finishing the Race

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On Monday, April 20th, 2015, 36,000 runners from around the world lined up in Hopkinton, Massachusetts and embarked upon the world’s most celebrated 26.2-mile journey to Boylston Street – the Boston Marathon.

For those who haven’t yet had the chance to run a marathon (put it on your bucket list), here’s what it feels like to cross the finish line. First, euphoria: all those early morning 20-milers paid off. Second, exhaustion. Third, hunger. Ravenous, all-consuming, my-esophagus-isn’t-wide-enough hunger.

Every runner has his or her own post-run food rituals. Here’s a rundown of some of the wildest post-race rituals we witnessed after Marathon Monday:

A Pan of Brownies

“I find that the more calories I eat after the race, the better I feel. I have a ritual of making a pan or two of very greasy brownies after a race. After I’ve had a pan of brownies, I feel strong enough to start thinking about healthy food.” – Anonymous marathoner and triathlete

Roasted Artichokes Stuffed with Anchovy Paste

Photo courtesy of seriouseats.com

“Runners lose a lot of salt through sweat. I always eat a large plate of salt-roasted artichokes stuffed with anchovy paste after a long endurance event. It sounds disgusting… but trust me, nothing tastes better in the heat of the moment!” – Anonymous three-time marathoner and ultramarathoner

We’ll take your word for it.

Jar of Peanut Butter Mixed with Bananas and Pickles

Photo courtesy of edibleperspective.com

“I eat pickles to replenish to salt stores…. And the bananas are there to justify the jar of peanut butter.” – Anonymous marathoner

Deer Meat Burgers

“I crave meat after a long run… at home, my dad makes delicious burgers out of deer meat instead of the traditional beef patty.” – Selena Pasadyn, Harvard Varsity Cross Country runner


Playing the banana lottery

I have four guys in my family. Nobody really cooks much, so I try to keep reasonably healthy and easy-to-eat (read: no actual cooks are used in the making of this item) foods around for them. Bananas are on the list.

But my family is funny about bananas. They will love them, devour them, never let them go bad some of the time. I may pick up bananas twice, or even three times in a given week because they are eating so many of them. But sometimes I buy a bunch of bananas and they sit there. Growing their inevitable brown spots. And I will say brightly to my boys at every new opportunity, “Banana for your cereal, hmm?” or “How about a peanut butter and banana sandwich tonight?” or “Would you like to take a nice banana for your lunch/snack/friend today?”

I am a terrible banana salesperson. They never go for this.

I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that my family has a collective banana toggle switch and it’s either on or it’s off. There’s no place I can check on this switch, either. The only way to know if everyone is “banana on” is to actually purchase some and see. It’s exactly like playing the lottery. Insert money, receive bananas. Sorry, you’re a big banana loser today. Please buy again!

I used to have a fantasy about making banana bread after losing the banana lottery. I would in complete good faith tuck my bananas into the freezer beside the pot pies, pizza, burritos, and the few other “instant” freezer foods I stock. “Sleep well, little bananas,” I would whisper, “I’ll be back for you!” Six months later one of the boys would drag them out and shout (because they always shout) for someone (who, do you think?) to throw them out to make room for more pizzas, a science experiment, or even (this is a true story) six Tupperware containers full of rare North Carolina snow.

So now the losing bananas feed our worms. Which, by the way, are now free range worms. Of course I feel guilty, starving children in Haiti and so forth.

But three times in a row now I’ve brought home bananas and they’ve all been eaten. I’m on a lucky streak, and I really feel like I can win. I plan to play again.


Best Missions for Farming Mighty Bananas

Urbosa, the Gerudo Chief


This early game battle lets you easily farm for Mighty Bananas without having to replay it over and over.

Play through the battle until you have reached the objective to defeat the enemies with a loud attack . Instead of using Remote Bombs, defeat the Yiga Clan members using Regular and Strong Attacks. They will respawn indefinitely, allowing you to farm for Mighty Bananas.

Before starting the battle, be sure to cook Egg Pudding, Egg Tart, and Wildberry Crepe to get a total of Material Drop Rate: +45% bonus. This lets you farm the materials in less than 30 minutes.

Check the Spoils Screen


To check the number of Mighty Bananas you have farmed, press the Plus (+) button and R button to navigate to the Spoils screen.


Watch the video: Haile Gebrselassie - 10,000m - Sydney 2000. Throwback Thursday (December 2021).